Misanthropist (from the Greek μισεῖν, to hate, and άνθρωπος, man), a hater of mankind; one that abandons society from a principle of discontent. The consideration of the depravity of human nature is certainly enough to raise emotions of sorrow in the breast of every man of the least sensibility; yet it is our duty to bear with the follies of mankind; to exercise a degree of candor consistent with truth; to lessen, if possible, by our exertions, the sum of moral and natural evil; and by connecting ourselves with society, to add at least something to the general interests of mankind. The misanthropist, therefore, is an ungenerous and dishonorable character. Disgusted with life, he seeks a retreat from it; like a coward, he flees from the scene of action, while he increases his own misery by his natural discontent, and leaves others to do what they can for' themselves.

The following is his character more at large: "He is a man," says Saurin (Sermons), "who avoids society only to free himself from the trouble of being useful to it. He is a man who considers his neighbors only on the side of their defects, not knowing the art of combining their virtues with their vices, and of rendering the imperfections of other people tolerable by reflecting on his own. He is a man more employed in finding out and inflicting punishments on the guilty than in devising means to reform them. He is a man who talks of nothing but banishing and executing, and who, because he thinks his talents are not sufficiently valued and employed by his fellow-citizens, or, rather, because they know his foibles, and do not choose to be subject to his caprice, talks of quitting cities, towns, and societies, and of living in dens or deserts."

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